Monday, 4 June 2012

 Beautiful poem ("Mattade Besara") by K S Nisar ahmed and sung by  M D Pallavi 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Bhartrihari Quotes 

  • The pearl on my beloved's neck, Afflicted sore the oyster!
  • Let us keep a firm grip upon our money, for without it the whole assembly of virtues are but as blades of grass.
  • Remembered she will bring remorse, Seen she makes the mind unclear, Touched she nearly drives one mad, Why call such a creature dear?
  • Knowledge is wonderful and truth serene But man in their service bleeds.
  • For a moment man is a boy, for a moment a lovesick youth, for a moment bereft of wealth, for a moment in the height of prosperity; then at life's end with limbs worn out by old age and wrinkles adorning his face, like an actor he retires behind the curtain of death.
  • Blinded by self-conceit and knowing nothing, Like elephant infatuate with passion, I thought within myself, I all things knew; But when by slow degrees I somewhat learnt By aid of wise preceptors, my conceit, Like some disease, passed off; and now I live In the plain sense of what a fool I am. 
  • Low-minded men are occupied solely with their own affairs, but noble-minded men take special interest in the affairs of others. The submarine fire drinks up the ocean, to fill its insatiable interior; the rain-cloud, that it may relieve the drought of the earth, burnt up by the hot season
  • The attribute most noble of the hand Is readiness in giving; of the head, Bending before a teacher; of the mouth, Veracious speaking; of a victor?s arms, Undaunted valour; of the inner heart, Pureness the most unsullied; of the ears, Delight in hearingand receiving truth?These are adornments of high-minded men, Better than all the majesty of Empire
  • The good man shuns evil and follows good; he keeps secret that which ought to be hidden; he makes his virtues manifest to all; he does not forsake one in adversity; he gives in season: such are the marks of a worthy friend
  • The sun opens the lotuses, the moon illumines the beds of water-lilies, the cloud pours forth its water unasked: even so the liberalof their own accord are occupied in benefiting others. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

World mapping ..!!

General Knowledge

Fact: India is the 7th largest country in the world in terms of Geographical area

Fact: Greenland is 13th largest country in the world in terms of Geographical area

Common Sense

India is larger than Greenland in terms of Geographical area.

The Mystery

Take any world map from our textbooks (see below for an image) and you will see that Greenland is more than five times larger than India on that map!!

Well, in terms of geographical area Greenland is 20% smaller than India, but on the world map it is larger than India! Amazing, isnt it? 

Now look at the following facts about this world map.

Africa is about 14 times larger than Greenland and yet on the world map both have almost same size!!

Brazil is more than 5 times larger than Alaska, yet Alaska is larger than Brazil on the world map!

Scandinavian countries are larger than India on the world map, where as in reality India is three times the size of all Scandinavian countries put together!

Again dont be fooled by this map. Russia is not so huge as it is depicted here. Continent of Africa is actually larger than Russia, not smaller than it as shown in this map.

While it looks like Europe is larger than North America on this map, in reality the reverse is true.

Another interesting fact to note in the above world map, see where the equator is. Isnt it supposed to be in the middle? Why was the world map projected so that northern hemisphere occupies 2/3 of the map and southern hemisphere just 1/3 ? Both the hemisphere are supposed to be equal in size isnt it?

The Missing Link

Again the story starts with India. In 1453 Ottomon Turks captured Constantinople and blocked the land based trade route between Europe and India. Those days Europe was heavily dependent on the trade with India, for spices, silk and what not. So Europeans were desperate to find an alternate sea based route to India. (Note that it was the European countries that were desperate to find an alternate route to India, not the other way round). And so started the marine race between the European countries which also led to the discovery of modern America – Columbus thought he had discovered the sea route to India and hence called the native Americans “Red Indians” even though they didnt have anything to do with India apart from the mistaken identity by Columbus.

Coming back to the map, as the trade routes shifted to sea from land, new tools and methods were required to help navigation in the seas and that was because in the seas you dont find any landmarks,. Your only guides are your compass and the sky above.

And hence was born our Mercator Map. Yes, the map displayed above which is otherwise commonly known as the world map is actually the Mercator map, developed by Gerardus Mercator in 1569 which he designed to help navigation in the sea.

Now for any map the challenge is to represent a spherical geography on a flat surface. You cannot stretch a sphere into a flat paper no matter where you cut it. So in cartography (the art and science of making maps ie mapping) one needs to make a choice of WHAT and HOW MUCH to preserve while creating a map.

Say if the Cartographer wants to preserve the geographical area of the sphere’s land mass in his map then he will have to give up on preserving the directions because straight line on a sphere is not a straight line on a flat surface.

Or if the Cartographer wants to preserve directions in his map, then he will have to give up on maintaining proportionate sizes of the land masses on the sphere.

What Mercator did was to preserve the directions. If you take a straight line in a Mercator’s map and follow it using a compass then you will reach the same place as depicted in the map. This might sound simple, but if the map had opted to retain proportional sizes of the land masses and if you had then followed a straight line then you would have ended up somewhere else because in this case direction wont be preserved in the flat 2D map.

Mercator wanted the directions to be preserved because he was creating a map for navigation ie to help the sailors. BUT, this map was popularized to become the world map ie to depict the sizes of different countries – which would make the students believe that the ratio of the geographical area of different countries shown in this map is the ACTUAL ratio between their geographical areas – which is WRONG.

If a map was created and meant for navigation, use it for navigation ONLY. Not to depict GEO-POLITICAL distribution of states.

First lets make it clear. No single map can show all – shape, size, direction – accurately at the same time because if you need to project 3D sphere onto a flat 2D surface – some information has to be lost – and we need to decide which one. Might have seen maps with a disclaimer – NOT TO SCALE 

3D to 2D


On a 3-dimensional sphere angles of a triangle sum up to more than 180 degrees but on a two dimensional surface it is equal to 180 degrees. Straight lines on a 3D sphere become curved when projected on to a 2D surface.

See the image of Globe above. The larger blocks near the equator become smaller as you move towards the poles and that is quite obvious.

What Mercator while stretching out the globe on a flat paper was to treat all the blocks in the globe as being of equal size, as this would preserve the direction ie keep the straight lines on the globe as straight lines on the 2D map too. BUT this would distort the sizes since the smaller blocks near the poles will have the same size as the larger blocks near the equator.

All is fine as long as the map is used to what it is meant for. The problem started when the map was used to depict geo-political areas and here it ends up showing funny things like Greenland is larger than India and so on. At the same time being a visual representation of the world, this creates a visual (and a wrong) impact about the relative sizes of different countries in the minds of the students and viewers.

So unless a student applies his/her general knowledge and common sense and comes up with questions like stated at the beginning of this article, the map becomes a de-facto representation of the world.

And hence started a movement accusing Mercator’s Map being racist in nature depicting all the small european countries (nearer to the poles) larger than the the large asian countries (near the equator). The problem was neither with Mercator, nor the map, but with the introduction of this navigational map as a geo-political world map in the textbooks. This showed the colonial countries as being larger than the colonized countries.

If you create a visual to represent something, and use it to represent something else which is not accurately represented in the given visual – then either there should be a motive behind it or there should be ignorance.

Seeing is Believing. Distortion of facts is an easy way of tuning the thoughts of a society. Because very few do VERIFICATION of what is presented to them as FACTS. Which is why the saying exists, a lie repeated hundred times becomes a truth. Or does it?

Enter Peter

A Cartographer once warned, People’s ideas of geography are not founded on actual facts but on Mercator’s map.

In 1973 German historian Arno Peters announced the creation of his Peters Map which he claimed treated all countries fairly by representing the geographical areas accurately in his map. Now look at this map (below) if you want to see the CORRECT relative geographical sizes of different countries.


In fact it was Peter who first said that the Mercator map was popular because it exaggerates the sizes of the white dominated regions compared to the developing nations. Co-incidentally all colonial countries are more closer to the poles, and developing nations are more closer to the equator and so Mercator’s map ended up exaggerating the sizes of colonial countries.

No Mercator in Schools Please

Seven North American professional geographic organizations in 1989 passed a resolution pressing for a ban on all rectangular coordinate maps, saying

WHEREAS, the earth is round with a coordinate system composed entirely of circles, and

WHEREAS, flat world maps are more useful than globe maps, but flattening the globe surface necessarily greatly changes the appearance of Earth’s features and coordinate systems, and

WHEREAS, world maps have a powerful and lasting effect on peoples’ impressions of the shapes and sizes of lands and seas, their arrangement, and the nature of the coordinate system, and

WHEREAS, frequently seeing a greatly distorted map tends to make it “look right,”

THEREFORE, we strongly urge book and map publishers, the media and government agencies to cease using rectangular world maps for general purposes or artistic displays. Such maps promote serious, erroneous conceptions by severely distorting large sections of the world, by showing the round Earth as having straight edges and sharp corners, by representing most distances and direct routes incorrectly, and by portraying the circular coordinate system as a squared grid. The most widely displayed rectangular world map is the Mercator (in fact a navigational diagram devised for nautical charts), but other rectangular world maps proposed as replacements for the Mercator also display a greatly distorted image of the spherical Earth.

Peters map even though more accurate than Mercator’s in representing geographical size, still is not 100% accurate either. Like any other rectangular world map even this is distorted near the poles. Moreover its actually called the Gall-Peters projection since James Gall, a scottish clergy man had created a similar map much earlier than Peter.

Today almost all professional geographical organizations maintain that the use of Mercator’s map as a world map can have negative psychological impact in the society. It is interesting to note that Australia has South Pole at the top in its maps as opposed to almost all countries which have north pole at the top in their world maps.

Another interesting fact to note is that, Google Maps today uses Mercators projection 

More Accurate Pictures

Robinson Projection

Robinson projection which is NOT a rectangular world map (see below) was used by National Geographic Society till 1998 as its standard world map.

Winkel Tripel Projection
Winkel Tripel projection which is again NOT a rectangular world map (see below) and is considered to be the most accurate, is also the current standard world map used by National Geographic Society and many educational institutions and professional organizations.



People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool. – Terry Goodkind -

Monday, 7 November 2011

What Vedas Say About The Age Of The Universe?

Vedas say that before the creation of the universe Lord Vishnu is sleeping in the ocean of all causes. His bed is a giant serpent with thousands of cobra like hoods. By the way, in the trinity of Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer as mentioned in the vedas, Lord Vishnu is the maintainer. Brahma is the creator and Shiva the destroyer.

While Vishnu is asleep, a lotus sprouts of his navel (note that navel is symbolised as the root of creation!). Inside this lotus, Brahma resides. Brahma represents the universe which we all live in, and it is this Brahma who creates life forms.

Now take a break here. Vishnu is the personification of the eternal multiverse that exists forever without any beginning or end. Brahma is the personification of our temporary physical universe that was created in the big bang.

Brahma is said to have been created from the navel (which is a single point) of Vishnu, described as a lotus blooming out of the navel, much like our big bang universe. Now this universe represented by Brahma is not a permanent universe, it is temporary, Brahma lives for 100 years say the vedas and then dies and then a new universe (Brahma) is born.

So as per vedas our universe lives for 100 years. Later we shall see how long each year of Brahma is.

For now, brahma represents our universe which has birth and death, a big bang and a big cruch, from a navel singularity. Vishnu represents the eternity that lies beyond our universe which has no birth or death and that which is eternal! Many such universes like ours exist in Vishnu.

Vedas say that thousands of brahmas have passed away! In other words, this is not the first time universe has been created.

Let us come back to the time measurements now. Brahma lives for hundred years say vedas and we are in the first day of the 51st year of the brahma.

A Year of Brahma

By the way each year of Brahma has 360 days. And we are in the first day of the 51st year of our current brahma. Vedas also say that Lord Hanuman will be the next Brahma. Well, thats something I have to do some research into later, the more things to think about, the more happy and occupied I am

Coming back to a day of the Brahma. Well, there is day and night. Vedas say that during the day Brahma is busy in creation of life and during the night all life he created is absorbed back into him! So we will be there only for this day of Brahma, which is the first day of his 51st year. But dont feel sad, let me promise you, this is a pretty long day.

A day of Brahma

Each day of brahma is called a Kalpa, and this itself is very huge a number. No wonder, ancient Indians had to be perfect in mathematics before going into all these things.

A kalpa is made up of brahma’s one day and one night.


The day has 14 Manvantaras. Similarly the night has an equal 14 Manvantaras. But then Brahma is resting in the night, so lets get back to the day again. We are in the 7th Manvantara of Brahma’s this day, say the vedas.


Each Manvantara is made up of 71 Mahayuga. We are in the 28th Mahayuga of this Manvantara say the vedas.

A Mahayuga is a collection of 4 Yugas. Maha means giant or huge.

The 4 yugas are Satya Yuga (also called Krita Yuga), Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, Kali Yuga. We are in the Kaliyuga of our current Mahayuga say the vedas.

Satya Yuga lasts for 40% of its Mahayuga – Age of divine where humans need no physical means to exist and are in direct contact with the God

Treta Yuga lasts for 30% of its Mahayuga – Age where bad deeds start appearing, still there is lot of truth, infact 3/4 of this age is still goodness

Dwapara Yuga lasts for 20% of its Mahayuga-Dwapara means after the second, where there are almost equal amount of good and bad

Kali Yuga lasts for 10% of its Mahayuga- Kali means Darkness in Sanskrit (not to be confused with Kaali which is godess), no wonder we are in this age

Now finally we have reached to a timescale which we can relate to our own years.

1 Kaliyuga = 432000 solar years!

A Kaliyuga has the length of one Yuga. So One Mahayuga has 10 Yugas of which four are in Satya Yuga, 3 in Treta Yuga, 2 in Dwapara and 1 in Kali Yuga.

So a Mahayuga = 10 times the Kaliyuga i.e 4,320,000 solar years


Let us do some reverse calculations now to find out the age of the universe as per the vedas.

1 Mahayuga = 4,320,000 years

1 Manvantara = 71 Mahayugas

1 day of Brahma = 14 Manvantaras = 994 Mahayugas

Now a small addition here, Vedas also say that before and after each Manvantara there is a gap equivalent to 4 Yugas (Not MahaYugas).

So now, 1 day of Brahma = 14 Manvantaras + (15 x 4 Yugas)

= 994 Mahayugas + 60 Yugas

= 994 Mahayugas + 6 MahaYugas = 1000

So 1 day of Brahma = 1000 MahaYugas = 4,320,000,000 years

1 night is again 1000 MahaYugas = = 4,320,000,000 years

1 Complete day = day + night = 8,640,000,000 years = 8.64 billion years

Note that we are in the 7th Manvantara of this day. So let us calculate how many years have passed since today started for Brahma.

Step 1: For 6 Manvantaras we have 71x 6 = 426 Mahayugas

Step 2: Then we have the gaps between each Manvantara which is 7 x 4 Yugas = 2.8 MahaYugas

Step 3: Then we have the current Mahayuga in our Manvantara which is 28th, we are in the last 1/10 of it (Remember Kaliyuga is the last of 4 yugas and spans 1/10 of a Mahayuga). So it is 27.9 Mahayugas.

So all put together we have 426+2.8+27.9 = 456.7 Mahayugas have been already spent in current day of Brahma. Approximately 543 more to go before we all are absorbed back into the Brahma

Okay so 456.7 in terms of years is 456.7 x 4,320,000 = 1,972,944,456 which is about 2 billion years. Somewhat close to what evolution proposes for life on earth.

Age of the Universe

Now lets find out the age of our universe as per the vedas. Let us consider the age of the Brahma to be the age of the universe. This is one number which no modern theory can even come anywhere near to it.

As we saw earlier a day of Brahma has 2000 MahaYugas (day+night).

There are 360 days in a year for Brahma and we are in the first day of 51st year.

So far 360 x 50= 18000 days have passed for Brahma

This is equivalent to 18000 x 2000 x 4320000 Human Years

In other words 155,520,000,000,000 Human Years

Add the current day of Brahma which is 1,972,944,456 Humans Years

So as per the vedas, the current age of the universe is 155,521,972,944,456 Years which is about 155,522 billion years !!! Modern day science has been able to predict age of our universe to be only about 15-20 billion years! Moreover Since we are in the first day of 51st year of Brahma, almost equal amout of time has to pass before this universe ends!!

So either modern science still has a long way to go in estimating the age of our universe


the universe mentioned in vedas is the mother of all universes (a multiverse probably) including our own universe !!!

More interesting:

Vedas also say that the average human life span in each yuga is as follows:

Kali Yuga = 100 Years

Dwapara Yuga = 200 Years

Treta Yuga = 300 Years

Satya Yuga = 400 Years !

I observed another interesting fact here. Vedas are also implying by this that humans are not limited to planet earth nor to this universe alone. We belong to other Yugas as well where we live a longer life!! More than the length of the life, a greater depth as well

Aliens, please come and meet me, wanna discuss a lot, people on earth are busy making money

Brahma, please put me in some parallel universe.

By the way, universe means one verse, the one verse which created this universe “OM”

The Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still. - Carl Sagan, Famous Astrophysicist 

Better Writing at Work: Using Positive Power

Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Supposedly those of us who see the glass as half full have a positive outlook. Those who see the glass as half empty are negative thinkers. And then there are the engineers and efficiency experts who see that same glass as having excess capacity.
As writers, we have the power to evoke a positive or negative response from our readers. Compare these pairs of sentences:
1. I don't have my bachelor's degree yet.

2. In just two semesters, I will have my bachelor's degree.
1. You can't use the conference room until my meeting ends.
2. As soon as we wrap up the meeting, the room is yours.
1. We are not sure where your order is.
2. We are doing everything possible to locate your order.
Do you see the differences? All the Number 1 sentences focus on the negative. All the 2s communicate a feeling of hope and progress. In each pair, the sentences convey the same essential message. But in the 2s, the writer uses language to create a more positive feeling.
Through language, you determine your reader's experience as well as your own. Here are specific steps to create positive experiences.
1. Use positive language. Be sure each message has one or more words and phrases like these:
appreciate value enjoy pleasure be glad to look forward contribute benefit thank you pleased opportunity happy easy
2. Use positive forms such as can, do, and will . Avoid can't, don't, won't, not, and other negative constructions. Use the pleasant "Please call me" rather than the wordy "Please do not hesitate to call me."
3. In general, avoid words whose feeling is negative: 
confusion absence hesitate limited late fail to decrease loss complaint misunderstand miscommunicate no-- as in "no idea" and "no way" problem refuse deny
Compare these sentences:
We received your letter complaining about our service.
Thank you for sharing your comments on our service.
4. Focus on what can be done rather than what cannot. Examples:
I cannot meet with you until tomorrow morning.
I will be glad to meet with you first thing tomorrow.
You cannot open an account with such a small deposit.
It takes just $100 to open your account.
Never leave the area without first securing your system.
Always secure your system before you leave the area.
5. Focus on what is--not what isn't. Imagine a restaurant server mentioning what is no longer available:
Negative: We were serving a delicious sole, but we ran out an hour ago. The salmon was superb too, but unfortunately it is all gone.

Positive: Let me tell you about tonight's menu choices. We have some excellent specials.
6. When giving feedback, avoid the word but after a compliment.But is the great compliment eraser.
Negative: I liked your dynamics, but you were often off-key in the first section.

Positive: Your dynamics were great. They conveyed a lot of emotion. Once you fix
a few notes in the first section, the piece will sound wonderful.
7. When you must say no, say it gently:
I wish I could say yes.
If there were anything I could do, I would gladly do it.
Our balance sheet unfortunately makes it clear that we must close the branch.

8. When you must say no, say it clearly:
Vague: I received your request to have New Year's Day off work. Many people have made a similar request, and it is difficult to accommodate everyone's wishes. Please let me know which other days you wish to have off in the first quarter.
Clear but kind and encouraging: 
I wish I could approve your request to have New Year's Day off. Unfortunately, many people requested that day off, and I approved their requests weeks ago. Therefore, everyone who is scheduled on that day must work. So that I can accommodate you as much as possible, please let me know right away about any other days you wish to have off in the first quarter.
9. When you need to say no, say it. Be courageous. If you avoid communicating bad news, you may communicate that the other person is not worth the time or effort that tactful communication requires.
10. Avoid mentioning a negative unless you really need to do so. Your reader may not be thinking about it. For example, I did not mention at the opening of this newsletter that I had wanted to publish it in early December but was too busy. Although I am bothered by my delay, my readers may not have noticed or may not mind.
Similarly, express your gratitude with "Thank you so much for your help" rather than emphasizing the negative with "Sorry for any inconvenience."
11. Say yes, share compliments, and communicate encouragement at every opportunity. Then when you must communicate a negative message, it will be a mere drop in a sea of goodwill.
YOU have the power to create a positive experience for your reader. Use it.